Call Centre Acoustic Shock: How to claim compensation for hearing loss & tinnitus from unexpected loud noises from a work telephone headset or handset earpiece
Find out what call centre acoustic shock is, the symptoms you might expect to experience, why your employer is responsible for any hearing damage caused; how your solicitor calculates the amount your claim might be worth; how to receive free specialist solicitor assistance before deciding whether to make a claim.
What is call centre acoustic shock and what are the symptoms you might experience?
Call centre acoustic shock describes the temporary or permanent alteration to hearing and the nervous system caused by a sudden unexpected loud sound through a headset or telephone earpiece symptoms can include: hearing loss and tinnitus(temporary or permanent), pain in the ears, headache, nausea, loss of balance, stress, hypersensitivity to sound, neck pain, fatigue.
Please note – acoustic shock is not only caused in call centre telephone systems, but several other extremely loud jobs (such as the aeronautical or armed forces).
Noise-induced hearing loss (sometimes known as industrial deafness) traditionally referred to hearing damage from exposure to continuous loud noise in the workplace over a long period of time (typically years). Noise levels are louder than the threshold of sound known to cause hearing damage.
Acoustic shock however is very different – the noise level is well beyond safe levels and can cause damage instantaneously even though it may have only lasted a split second.
Historically, acoustic shock was limited to the aeronautical industry or the armed forces (some of the loudest man-made noises are experienced) – but today call centre, telemarketing & other telephonic jobs have increased and as a result acoustic shock transmitted through a telephone earpiece is becoming more common.
Call centre workers & telemarketers describe sudden ear-piercing loud sounds, such as whistles or bleeps, coming through the headphone or telephone headset. This may be as a result of faults, feedback, signalling tones, fax sounds or oscillation.
Is an employer responsible for your hearing damage caused by call centre acoustic shock?
Your employer is under a duty to keep you and other workers safe whilst at work and to supply suitable work equipment eliminating any foreseeable dangers that are a risk to health. If there is a defect with the telephone system or in its operation, such that it causes an acoustic incident (a loud sudden, unexpected noise) and as a result you suffer hearing loss or tinnitus, your employer will likely be found legally at fault and as a result responsible for paying you compensation.
As such acoustic incidents are known – certain types of headset and phone can protect workers from the excessive sound, but many employers do not supply the requisite headsets as they are typically far more expensive.
See the BBC’s article on the experience of call centre & telemarketer’s experience of acoustic shock and how employers can reduce the risk to their workers.
Calculating Compensation Amounts
See our noise induced hearing loss compensation amounts article for a description of how your solicitor calculates the compensation payout you can recover for hearing damage and tinnitus from acoustic shock.
Starting A Call Centre Acoustic Shock Claim
To discuss your situation direct with a specialist solicitor, have your claim assessed or ask an online question free of charge see our hearing loss compensation solicitor free legal help options.